For Sharmila, Cupid struck in a cabinet meeting

Published: February 27, 2013
Sharmila is the love of my life, confesses 30-year-old Hashaam Riaz Sheikh. PHOTO: AIJAZ@AJSTUDIOS / DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID

Sharmila is the love of my life, confesses 30-year-old Hashaam Riaz Sheikh. PHOTO: AIJAZ@AJSTUDIOS / DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID

Sharmila is the love of my life, confesses 30-year-old Hashaam Riaz Sheikh. PHOTO: AIJAZ@AJSTUDIOS / DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID Sharmila is the love of my life, confesses 30-year-old Hashaam Riaz Sheikh. PHOTO: AIJAZ@AJSTUDIOS / DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID

When news channels repeatedly broadcast the news of PPP leader Sharmila Faruqi having found her “jeewan saathi” last week, I immediately rang her up to get an up close and personal account of how it all happened.

Sharmila’s baat pakki ceremony had already taken place on Sunday evening, so when I landed up at her residence on Tuesday afternoon, the marigolds and gladiolas from the event were still sprinkled across the lawn. At the entrance, I was greeted by the lovebirds themselves.

“Meet the groom-to-be,” Sharmila said brightly, as she gazed lovingly at her fiancé, 30-year-old Hashaam Riaz Sheikh. While Sharmila wore a simple shalwar kameez, Sheikh looked more formal in a crisp white shalwar kameez with a waistcoat, explaining that he was headed to the airport. The two murmured softly to each other as we went inside the house; the chemistry between them was electric. They sat close together and even exchanged a quick peck. They also shared that they have the mutual nickname ‘Beezw’ for each other.

“She is the love of my life,” Sheikh confessed, but then corrected himself. “The president is the first love of my life! Sharmila is the second and she has to compromise on that,” he laughed, adding that he has been trying to make her “a little more romantic”.

Sheikh explained that he used to be an investment banker on Wall Street, but that he currently lives in Islamabad and works as an adviser to President Asif Ali Zardari. The two met for the first time at a cabinet meeting in October 2010. Two months later, Sharmila was given a Human Rights Award by the president for which she had to fly out to Islamabad, and the two met again. They decided to go out for dinner, and even recalled how they had played Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki in the car on their way to dinner and back. The die-hard Rahat fans are so addicted to the song, they invited Rahat to their baat pakki ceremony and requested that he sing it three times.

“What makes us click is that we are so alike,” said Sharmila. “Our families suffered a lot in the times of Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf,” she continued. “That’s how we relate to and understand each other.”

Sharmila is an only child and Hashaam has three other siblings, but she says that he understands the feeling of being alone as he lived in the US for nine years. “He loves me for who I am — my virtues as well as my vices,” she said, as Sheikh left the house to catch his flight. “In the two-and-a-half years that I have known him, Hashaam sahab has stood by me like a solid rock.” She said that he doesn’t refuse her anything, and loves her even if she makes a mistake. “He is an amazing person at heart. For Valentine’s Day, he bought me a red outfit, chocolates and balloons,” she said with a smile, adding that he flew out to Dubai last year when she was there. “I believe that one day, he will buy me the whole world!”


At her event on Sunday, Sharmila wore a heavily embellished black outfit by SanaSafinaz while the groom chose a black sherwani by Deepak Perwani. She admits that she has become brand conscious after meeting Sheikh. “I carry a Louis Vuitton bag because of him as he is a totally ‘branded guy’ — it’s Armani, Gucci, Hermes or Louis Vuitton for him,” she smiled, adding that he has changed her wardrobe entirely. “I could be dressed up casually in jeans but Hashaam sahab is always dressed to kill!”

She goes back to showering him with praise, saying “I can’t seem to find any faults in him — he is such a loving and amazing person. Not many people impress me — I couldn’t have fallen in love with anyone else but him.”

When asked about the  stories surrounding her when she was single, she said she “didn’t bother with them”, adding “One trick is to not respond to these mindless rumours — they eventually subside and that’s how I have kept my sanity intact.”

With Hashaam in Islamabad and Sharmila in Karachi, I wondered where they would eventually settle down. Sharmila said that has not yet been decided. “It all depends on where politics takes us — I take things as they come,” she said. As far as the upcoming elections are concerned, she said she does want to participate in them but that the decision ultimately depends on the PPP. “My political life depends on them and they decide for me but with my personal life, I decide for myself,” she said with a smile.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Sa
    Feb 27, 2013 - 9:22PM

    how have they known each other for two and a half years if they met for the first time in Oct 2012


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 27, 2013 - 9:42PM

    I love to watch her on talk shows. She has a very sharp tongue but also has a very soft side in her. I watched one of her interviews where she spoke of her personal life, likes and dislikes. I liked it very much.

    My best wishes to the young couple.


  • saleem
    Feb 27, 2013 - 9:42PM

    The president is the first love of my life! Sharmila is the second and she has to compromise on that
    Riaz shiekh is a compulsive flatterer and so is his son.


  • Jav
    Feb 27, 2013 - 9:42PM

    So, now all our female politicians are becoming brand conscious. WOW!!

    Anyway, Congrats Sharmila!! You are looking very pretty. May you have a happy married life ahead!


  • Amir Nasiruddin Sayani
    Feb 27, 2013 - 9:49PM

    Both looking Awesome. Best Of Luck


  • Malik
    Feb 27, 2013 - 11:32PM

    Best of Luck. I hope it works out for both of them.


  • Yasir Mehmood
    Feb 28, 2013 - 12:24AM

    I doubt any sensible advice they gave to zardari sahib seems like they were quite busy solving their own issues :)


  • bablu
    Feb 28, 2013 - 12:41AM

    How come everyone missed the fact that our govt. officials dont even bother to concentrate in cabinet meetings besides other chores? They are evidently too occupied by the “other” stuff. Dont call me a fanatic now. I dont care who found who. Its just that Karachi hasn’t found peace yet DURING ‘democrazy’.


  • Tom Brady
    Feb 28, 2013 - 1:19AM

    Everything is great but please don’t tell us about the expensive brands. People in Pakistan have nothing to eat and you are talking about these outrageously expensive brands. It doesn’t look good coming from you where your party is ruling the country.


  • Huma
    Feb 28, 2013 - 1:51AM

    “Beezw”?? How do you pronounce that??


  • asad
    Feb 28, 2013 - 1:53AM

    “Sheikh explained that he used to be an investment banker on Wall Street…”

    says it all pretty much.


  • ovais
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:10AM

    and apparently they only earn 50 k or so per month


  • foolproof
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:16AM

    Like they say….make hay while the sun shines..


  • Salman Ahmad
    Feb 28, 2013 - 5:49AM

    Oh yeah – this is going to last.


  • Rayan
    Feb 28, 2013 - 8:38AM


    It’s oct 2010 not 2012….


  • sundus
    Feb 28, 2013 - 9:39AM

    she looks emaciated.

    also, why would someone pose for a photo as if they are about to break into an umrao jaan style dance?


  • Feb 28, 2013 - 9:53AM

    This is disgusting! To think these shallow, greedy people are running our country. When people are virtually starving in your Pakistan, how can you be talking about Armani and Louis Vuitton? This is really where your priorities lie? Be ashamed, so so ashamed.


  • Faryal G
    Feb 28, 2013 - 10:04AM

    What a cheesy article. They might as well give us details of how they make out


  • Erum
    Feb 28, 2013 - 12:49PM

    @Sa: The articles says October 2010 not 2012.


  • R. Khan
    Feb 28, 2013 - 1:24PM

    Wishing you both best of everything!


  • Gp65
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:09PM

    It did initially say Oct 2012. Must have been changed when @Sa pointed it out. I recall thinking the same thing.


  • Gp65
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:11PM


    The article originally did say Oct 2012. I remember thinking the same thing as @Sa. It must be corrected after he pointed out the error.


  • sew
    Feb 28, 2013 - 2:59PM

    good to know that someone benefitted from a cabinet meeting.


  • TightJeans
    Feb 28, 2013 - 4:15PM

    Very few people are lucky enough to marry the one they truly love. Sharmila and Hashaam are very lucky indeed. May they have a long and happy life together.


  • Adnan
    Feb 28, 2013 - 8:19PM

    “The president is the first love of my life! Sharmila is the second and she has to compromise on that”

    Correctly said by Hashaam, as Hashaam dad, Ahmed Riaz Sheikh (FIA official) is very close to Mr. Zaradari. Ahmed Riaz Sheikh was instrumental in arresting Mian Sharif and when Ahmed Riaz Sheikh was himself got arrested on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2010, It is heard that Mr. Zardari was himself prepared to visit Mr. Sheikh in the police lock up if the presidential protocol and security had not come in his way. So can imagine that Hashaam first love in Mr. President.


  • Danish Xuberi
    Mar 3, 2013 - 7:01PM

    BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY LIFE. hope he is not a ‘price tag’ person – but then we have to put up with LOVE for better or worse. So many love stories end after honeymoon simply because they don’t ‘love for all the virtues and vice’ in their partner.


  • Maheen
    Mar 4, 2013 - 1:28AM

    Brands! And the president being the love of his life. Absolutely disgusting


  • Chaudhary
    Mar 4, 2013 - 10:23AM
  • sdf
    Mar 4, 2013 - 1:00PM

    how old is sharmila farooqi?
    and the dress looks very un-sana safinaz.


  • Anon
    Mar 4, 2013 - 1:19PM

    “I believe that one day, he will buy me the whole world!” Yep, I’m sure he’s ‘saving up’ these days…


  • SZ
    Mar 4, 2013 - 8:50PM

    actually it says oct 2010… lol


  • Ali
    Mar 5, 2013 - 12:14AM

    People were dying, while these two had to have all the security of Karachi at their soooo important party. NO police or ambulance came to the bomb blast. Good to know that they are dressed up nice.


  • Iram
    Mar 5, 2013 - 12:23AM

    This is disgusting….these are the people who only think about themselves.they don’t care either people are starving or dying in Pakistan


  • Ayesha Usman
    Mar 6, 2013 - 1:27AM

    its OCTOBER 2010…read carefully


  • khan
    Mar 7, 2013 - 3:44AM

    …. and in other news, 50 people were slaughtered in Karachi at the same time.


  • S Abid
    Mar 7, 2013 - 6:50PM

    If there is no friendship with them (the poor) and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love only exists among equals.


  • roshan akhtar
    Mar 8, 2013 - 5:38AM

    It is most unfortunate that Abbas Town bombing coincided with her engagement ceremony.


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